Are Climate Stabilization"Wedges" Still Relevant?
Yesterday I posted a link to an article by Rob Hopkins on why localization is the only sensible path to economic development. Now Rob is at it again, this time taking on a long-accepted piece of environmentalist lore - Robert Socolow's "climate stabilization wedges". The original idea was that, rather than viewing emissions cuts as one giant task, we instead break up the challenge ahead of us into ambitious but more manageable wedges like efficiency and conservation; renewables; reforestation etc. In response to a recent article by Socolow entitled Wedges Reaffirmed, Hopkins unleashes a lengthy rebutle—arguing that many of Socolow's responses are simply too expensive and unfeasible in an age of economic crisis, and that the wedges fail to take adequate account of the additional crises we face beyond climate change. It's time, says Hopkins, to give Socolow a wedgie:
I am led to speculate that a more effective approach to the wedges would necessitate ditching those that are massively costly, centralised and energy intensive infrastructure projects, and to adding one vital strategy, currently missing from Pacala and Socolow's very 'business-as-usual' approach, but which, I believe, could take up a few wedges-worth of wedge space. It would be a wedge which, unlike the others, also addresses the other challenges rather than centralising power and economic benefits to a small number of corporations in the way that, say, a new programme of nuclear power would. It is what Peter North terms "intentional localisation".